Gannett is still in the hunt for Tribune Publishing, a day after investors in the Chicago company showed lackluster support for its board.
A regulatory filing Monday showed more than 40 percent of voting shareholders withheld support for directors put up by the Tribune.
Gannett Co., which has offered $864 million to buy out Tribune Publishing Co., said Tuesday that the tally supports its claim that "five of eight Tribune directors received less than 50 percent support from shares voted that are unaffiliated with Tribune or its Chairman Michael Ferro."
Tribune's stock gained more than 7 percent before the opening bell.
Tribune last week captured a lot of attention and some ridicule after the publisher, founded in 1847, said it was changing its name to Tronc, short for "Tribune online content."
There has been speculation that Gannett Co., owner of USA Today, might pull its offer due to resistance from Ferro.
Tribune, which publishes the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and nine other major dailies, has attempted to fend off Gannett, adopting a "poison pill" plan that would make a hostile takeover more difficult. It called Gannett's offering of $15 per share inadequate, but sold 4.7 million shares to California entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong for that exact amount on the same day.
Shares of Gannett, based in McLean, Virginia, rose slightly in premarket trading.